How many times have you said things you didn’t really mean? “This shirt looks good on you.” “The dinner was so tasty.”

We don’t want hurt others. We don’t see a benefit telling the whole truth. Often, we don’t really know what we’re feeling deep inside.

Jonathan Ive, Senior VP of Design for Apple, was quoted with this observation: “When people are looking at Macs in stores, they’re drawn to them in a very physical way. They don’t mind moving them around or touching them. (…) You’re seldom intimidated by something that you can feel. If you’re intimidated by an object, you tend not to want to touch it.”

This insight (“people are seldom intimidated by something they want touch”) can’t be extracted by asking people. You can’t get that from focus groups.

That insight needs acute observations of behavior. It needs to be informal, in a real environment, not a white-walled conference room. People have problems expressing what they feel. But they have many revealing moments when they express what they feel.